Healthcare and nursing have been changing since the days of Hippocrates, and most certainly since the days of Florence Nightingale and the birth of the modern nurse. Some of us stay abreast of the changes and try to make sure we have our ears to the rails, and others of us bury our heads in the sand and hope it will all go away and never affect us. Well, you know what?
Change in healthcare and nursing
are going to hit you somewhere, some time, so you may as well get used to it and be ready to pivot when the going gets good.
In the first eight months of 2016, Healthcare News tracked 56 acquisitions or mergers in the healthcare space. Now, not all of those will directly impact nurses, but you get the idea; the landscape is changing and the shifting sands and seismic plates of healthcare economics will continue to do anything but stand still.
Does it feel comfortable under your blanket? Have you created a fort in your living room out of sheets draped over the furniture like when you were a kid? It might be cozy to remain unaware of what’s happening out there, folks, but being ready for change is in your best interest.
There are several ways to be ready during this economic healthcare climate:
As I always tell my readers and listeners, keep your resume up to date and ready to roll at a moment’s notice. Opportunities arise that you may need to jump on quickly, so don’t get caught in the trap of staying up until 3am to update your resume.
Meanwhile, continue to take my advice and maximize your potential on LinkedIn, and if you still haven’t done so, it’s time. Some of you may not be aware of this, but LinkedIn was purchased by Microsoft earlier in 2016, and like I said in a blog post from June 29th, 2016:
I believe that LinkedIn is central to nurse career development and networking. From interacting as a member of robust LinkedIn groups to connecting with those who work for organizations you admire or wish to work for, LinkedIn provides a window to people and into worlds that may otherwise be more difficult to access.
If you want to meet employees of a hospital where you desire to find a position, LinkedIn is the go-to platform to find and connect with those individuals. And if, for example, you want to find every Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in a particular zip code, LinkedIn’s advanced search is the place to begin.
Your digital networking should revolve around LinkedIn, and some of those online relationships can be transformed into real-life meetings and relationships. Meanwhile, people you meet in person and work with during the course of your career are also available for you to connect with on the LinkedIn platform.
Stay Abreast of Trends
Keeping abreast of trends is crucial; from mergers and acquisitions to trends in nursing education, you need to know what’s up.
One trend many nurses are accepting in greater numbers is the reality that certain jobs are no longer available to nurses without Bachelor’s degree. Whether you agree with this practice or not, you can thank the Institute of Medicine for really getting the ball rolling on this with their “Future of Nursing” report that recommended that hospitals move towards a 100% Baccalaureate-prepared nursing workforce by 2020. We could argue the intelligence and feasibility of this trend, but we also need to accept the reality on the ground. So, some nurses are reading the writing on the wall and going back to school in order to stay relevant and optimize their chances of remaining employed.
Speaking of education, online nursing education is a huge trend, and there are many choices for nurses seeking opportunities to earn degrees through distance learning. Some programs are hybrids, with most courses done in the comfort of your own home and several short residencies on campus, and others, like my friends at American Sentinel University (previous sponsors of this show) are 100% online with any needed clinicals arranges near your home.
Nurse entrepreneurship is another place to not bury your head in the sand. If you’re feeling burnt out on regular old nursing, you may want to look at ways to leverage your skills and experience as a nurse business owner. With a rapidly aging population in most countries, private duty concierge nursing for the elderly is one way to go, as is the potential to open your own nursing agency or home health service, which can run the gamut from Medicare-certified skilled nursing to simply homemaking, companionship, and personal services for aging adults.
The National Nurses in Business Association is truly the premier organization for those seeking a new vision of their nursing career, and I must admit that I’m a fan, a frequent speaker and exhibitor, and a proud member.
We nurses need to watch for change; healthcare is dynamic, ever shifting, and we need to evolve with the times. Some of you older nurses may remember when diploma nurses were the norm, and nurses educated in colleges and universities were few and far between. Diploma nurses went to schools housed within hospitals; they received very robust clinical training, but they’ve been phased out as nursing education shifted to colleges and universities. Now, ADNs are feeling the same pressure as we shift towards the Bachelor’s as the entry-level degree, and those who are unwilling to keep up with the changes may feel left out and left behind.
Use social media as a tool for keeping pace with the times. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, SnapChat, and other platforms will tune you into trending conversations. One great tool is Feedly, a service that allows you to follow subjects of interest to you, with new stories, articles, blog posts, and other media curated for you while you’re busy doing other thing; Flipboard is a similar service. Both Flipboard and Feedly are very mobile-friendly, with excellent easy-to-use apps for perusing topics while you stand in line at the store or sip your latte. You can also use Google Alerts to stay tuned into news and trends of interest.
As technology charges forward at an unbelievable rate of change and innovation, we nurses also need to keep up with the times. We’ve accustomed ourselves to the latest EMRs and EHRs, and even though many nurses have now mastered EPIC, one of the most common EMRs being used especially here in the U.S., we must be prepared that EMRs will continue to change. Adapt or die is the norm now, folks, especially when it comes to technology.
Speaking of tech, bedside devices, new forms of communication, and innovations in patient care will also continue apace, and savvy nurses won’t ignore the trends. You don’t want to be a nurse who resists new technology; rather than run away screaming, you want to embrace the new stuff that comes along, and apply your critical thinking, skills, intelligence, and nursing savvy to the situation. Use curiosity to overcome your frustration and open your mind to the new.
Stay awake, stay aware, and stay curious about what’s coming down the pike. Try to anticipate change, and try to stay one step ahead. Being on the crest of the wave of change is must preferable than being plowed under as you stand there staring in the wrong direction. Stay awake, friends, and don’t get caught in the undertow of change.
This episode of The Nurse Keith Show is brought to you by my friends at StaffGarden, a unique digital healthcare company allowing nurses to create a private online ePortfolio that StaffGarden shares with high-quality employers (with your permission, of course) in order to connect you with the best facilities and positions.
StaffGarden partners with fantastic employers seeking the best candidates in the nursing profession; through powerful partnerships with the recruiters and talent acquisition professionals employed by these healthcare leaders, they deliver your ePortfolio directly to the people who are looking for nurses just like you.
Having a StaffGarden ePortfolio and landing a job with a partnering employer costs you nothing. However, your ePortfolio will get you noticed for positions that you would likely not have access to through traditional ads or job postings.
As a nurse, partnering with StaffGarden adds depth and breadth to your job search process, as well as your exposure to some of the most progressive healthcare employers in the country. Allow SG to work for you and connect you with some of the greatest job opportunities in 21st-century healthcare.
The NNBA and Networking Nurses
In the fall of 2015, I recorded episode 29 of the Nurse Keith Show from Las Vegas, Nevada, where I was glowing from a glorious time at the annual conference of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA). Well, from October 14th to 16th of this year, I’ll be back at the 2016 NNBA conference with bells on, and I’m super psyched that Kevin Ross and Elizabeth Scala—my partners in crime at RNFM Radio—will also be with me.
Just as a heads up, the three of us from RNFM Radio will be putting on a pre-conference workshop where attendees will be able to learn the basics of podcasting, and actually go home with all of the information they need to actually launch a podcast on a shoestring. There are other great pre-conferences on the schedule, as well, but we obviously want you to come to ours because it’s going to be fantastic. Check it all out here.
The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by Tim Hallowell of The PodcastingGuy.com; social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.
Please consider leaving a review of The Nurse Keith Show over on iTunes; this helps more nurses and healthcare professionals find the show and benefit from the information being shared. Just visit iTunes, click on the iTunes store, search for The Nurse Keith Show under podcasts, and leave a review, and voila. Thanks!
Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline.com, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.